It Just Hit Me

March 21, 2001

TEMPE, Ariz. - As a member of three different teams who played in over 100 separate college games, there was one thing that always remained consistent, and that was that experience counts. I remember like it was yesterday. Trying to figure out how to write my whole basketball and class schedule on one hand in magic marker so that I would always know where I had to be and where I had to go, and at what time I had to get there by. Now, with no more basketball meetings and no more practice, my hands are bare, and I ask myself where do I go from here?

Since it's been the big question in my family, I assume a lot of people are concerned. Concerned that my hands have been tied to basketball for so long that I must want to coach or even write about basketball as a possible conclusion to my career. However, I have to say that being a Sun Devil student-athlete, I have acquired much more experience than that to limit myself to the confines of the competitive arena I thrived in for many years and explore those arenas I'm not yet as comfortable with.

For the last two years, Charli has preached pressure, pressure, pressure your opponent, and now with resume writing and entering the competitive job market, the pressure is all on me facing my biggest opponent in the job market: people with experience.

Being a student-athlete, my job experience is somewhat scattered, just like my career, yet there are many things just being a student-athlete has taught me. Some I learned quickly, like how to drive a stick and eat breakfast at the same time. Some I learned more slowly, like how to make a dollar out of 15 cents when I couldn't reach in my parents' pocket for that extra 45. And some took my whole career to figure out, like how the room assignments were made on road trips or what kinds of foods my stomach doesn't get mad at me for eating before the game. Then there are those experiences, those lessons that only being on a team can teach you about life.

As a teammate, I learned lessons of loyalty and support. I know what it feels like to support a teammate, and I know what it feels like to be supported by a whole team. I know what being a loyal teammate felt like because I became one.

As a student I learned there's no easy way from point F to point A, and you don't start with an A. You start with an F and earn your A. I know you have to work hard to achieve anything in life, because I've both failed and achieved in almost everything I've tried. I learned what it takes to be successful because I have been.

As a player, I learned lessons of sacrifice. I know what it feels like to play 40 minutes a game, and I know what it feels like to play zero. I know what sacrificing feels like because I've done it on both ends.As an athlete, I learned life isn't fair, and it was never supposed to be. We weren't all blessed with equal bodies and equal abilities. As an athlete, I had to learn how to use the talent I did have and develop it into something the team could use. I know what it feels like to contribute because I was on a team.

Then it hit me: who the real underdog was in the competitive job market. Those people who have never failed, never felt what it feels like to have the support of a whole team, never been held accountable not only by a coach but by 15 sisters as well, and never sacrificed personal achievement for the good of the team. My experience not only counts as a Sun Devil student-athlete, but it has prepared me for a world full of competition.

As I look down at my bare hands free from appointments or things to remember for the day, I picture my fingers crossed. Then I uncross them, knowing from my experience as a student-athlete, luck doesn't just happen unless you've been prepared for it. I am prepared, now I'm just waiting for an opportunity to open up. Life is full of opportunities, and you never know when one door is going to close and when the next is going to open. From what the experienced successful people tell me, 'It's all a matter of good timing.'

I don't know what I'll be doing 10 years from now, but I do know that no matter what time it is, I can always rely on the lessons I've learned that have prepared me for a little good luck and success in the future.

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